Left-handed

This is how parents can encourage

their left-handed child.

A good start with left hand

Your child prefers the left hand? Absolutely okay! No need to worry: this is nothing out of the ordinary. About every tenth person is left-handed or left-handed from birth. Your child should be free to choose what he or she does with which hand. To make the start in school easier for your left-handed child, you can promote it specifically.

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What does it mean when our child writes with his left hand?

Left-handedness is congenital. It means that the right side of the brain is more pronounced. Scientific research has long shown that left-handedness says nothing about a child's aptitude or ability. Your child only activities that require particularly high speed, strength or skill, prefer to do with the left.

A re-education, however, would have fatal consequences! Must the weaker half of the brain, so here the left, take over more power, this can lead to overload and developmental disorders. This is to be avoided at all costs. With right-handed people is it by the way exactly the opposite: A re-training on the left would have the same negative consequences.

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How do we best support our child?

As a right-handed parent, it is often difficult to empathize with the left-handed child: how do I explain the correct pencil position and how to use scissors? Pretending doesn't work. Textbook publishers and manufacturers of educational materials have information and accompanying materials available for parents. In addition to special school materials, there are also many utensils that make it easier for your left-handed child: from children's cutlery to paring knives, carving knives to computer keyboards and mice. Even specially designed for left-handed children musical instruments are now available in specialized stores.

Helpful tips for the start of school

In school, the rule of the "right" and the "wrong" hand has long ceased to exist. Scientifically, both hands are "right" as a writing hand. Therefore, if your child has the right disposition, he or she should definitely write with the left hand from the beginning and not feel that you are worried about it. Also, left-handedness should never make your child feel "wrong" or "clumsy." However, since children do not like to stand out, it is important to make sure that your child does not try to retrain himself to right-handedness by imitating.

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These tips make the start of school easier:

  • Inform the teacher in advance about the left-handedness of your child.
  • When arranging the seating, the teacher should make sure that your left-handed child sits on the left side of the table and a right-handed child sits on the right. This way, the children don't get in each other's way when writing.
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  • Provide materials specifically geared for left-handers,triangular pencils or pencil sharpeners or a sharpener for left-handed cutting direction
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  • A left-handed ruler shows numbers from right to left. This makes it easier to measure and underline correctly
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  • A writing pad for left-handed children helps align the stapling position. The writing pad is on top with stapling. This way the writing hand is not always on the spiral binding
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  • Discuss with the teacher whether a rollerball instead of fountain pen can be purchased.

How to support your child at home

  • At the workplace for homework, make sure there is enough room for the left arm to move. Also, the light should come from the right.
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  • Help your child push the writing notebook to the bottom right edge. This will allow your child to keep his writing hand relaxed and not smudge the writing later with the fountain pen or rollerball. It also makes it easier for them to see what they have written. A special writing pad helps to find the right position.
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  • Promote a relaxed writing posture of your child: The left hand rests on the side edge and the right hand holds the notebook or sheet firmly.
  • Often in beginning lessons, children are asked to copy letters that are prescribed at the beginning of the line. Support your child here by writing the appropriate letter at the right end of the line. So your child can better see what to write.
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  • Think about breaks for your child and yourself!

My child uses both hands alternately: Now what?

Perhaps your child has not yet decided which hand it uses as the better one for itself. This can also happen. Some children switch back and forth in their "handedness" several times during the first years of life. Usually, the issue clears up by the age of five, but it can take longer in isolated cases. By the start of school, it should be clear which hand is the writing hand. If necessary speak to your pediatrician about it. If necessary, the handedness can be clarified via special tests. This is important so that your child can learn to write from the beginning without tension and in a relaxed posture.

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Where to find help and advice?

If you have specific questions at school, it is best to speak directly with the teacher. The teachers in the elementary school usually have a lot of experience with thisem topic and can give you helpful advice.

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If problems arise to left-handedness, contact your pediatrician's office. Usually, the practices prescribe occupational therapy. There, testing procedures can clarify whether your child tends to be more left- or right-handed. If necessary, trained professionals support your child to use the found out hand in the future regularly.

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Special writing materials for left-handed children can be found at the well-known school book publishers or in local stationery stores.

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More information on left-handedness is available on the website of the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) at www.kindergesundheit-info.de

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The "First German advice and information center for left-handers and retrained left-handers e.V." offers scientific information on left-handedness in childhood, work and leisure.

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